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SLS static fire test today

NASA will make its second attempt today complete a full 8 minute long static fire test of the core stage of its SLS rocket.

The two-hour window for the test begins at 3 pm (Eastern). You can watch it on NASA TV.

To put it mildly, a lot rides on this test. If anything should go wrong, the future of the SLS rocket will be grim indeed. And should all go well NASA will still be under grave schedule pressure. Though the actual first launch of SLS using this core stage is presently set for the fall, NASA has admitted that they need to review that schedule once today’s test is completed.

Preparations for the upcoming test are going well, NASA Acting Administrator Steve Jurczyk said in an interview March 17.

,,,If the test does go well, he said the agency should be able to soon confirm a launch date for the Artemis 1 mission, which will use the core stage being tested at Stennis. That mission is currently projected to launch in November. “I think that, within probably just a few weeks, they’ll take a look at the schedule one more time and confirm whether we can make November of this year or if we need to go out a little bit.”

The agency is trying hard to meet that November date, but no one will be surprised if the flight ends up happening in January ’22. Any later than that and they will have a new problem, as the already stacked solid rocket boosters must fly within a year of stacking, and this process began back in December ’20.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • eddie willers

    Looks like they made it the full eight minutes, but I must say, it looks like this test stand costs more than the whole of the Starship program to date.

  • Jeff Wright

    I’d like to see its use offered to Super-Heavy and Bezos’ rockets

  • Dick Eagleson

    The big Stennis test stand SLS was tested on wouldn’t work for either Super Heavy or New Glenn. At least not as is. The stand was originally built to test the Saturn V 1st stage which was kerolox. Since then, it has had LH2 capability added in order to test the SLS core stage. To test either Super Heavy or New Glenn, it would have to be significantly refitted to handle LCH4 as both these vehicles use methalox engines.

    Super Heavy is also very large, would be very difficult to move to Stennis and has its own launch infrastructure – which will be able to support static fires – already furiously a-building in Boca Chica. Blue Origin already has another Apollo-era test stand in Huntsville it is refitting to test BE-4 engines for New Glenn. The complete 1st stage can be static-fired at its LC-36 launch site.

    Both companies have used Stennis test facilities in the past and may well do so again in future, but testing complete 1st stages there doesn’t look to be on the agenda for either firm, mainly for logistics reasons.

  • eddie willers

    I don’t know how the Stannis Test Center has evaded my knowledge all these years. I went to the Wikipedia page (which you can usually trust for non-political entries) and see the plan began in 1961 and was operational in 1966.

    No wonder it looked so expensive. It was/is!

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